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Category “love & relationships”

4 Things I Learned from Being Possessive and Controlling in a Relationship

As she stood there watching the puppet show, our eyes locked. I was instantly attracted.

After what felt like the longest fifteen minutes torn between the desire to talk to her and the fear of rejection, I mustered the courage to introduce myself.

She gave me a smile, then without saying a word, walked away.

“What just happened? How can such a beautiful lady be so rude?” I stood there in disbelief, overtaken by embarrassment, pretending nothing had happened.

Two weeks later, as if by pure serendipity, a mutual friend reconnected us. That was the beginning of a relationship I …

The Abuse Behind My Happy Family Pictures (and Why We Should Talk About It)

TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with an account of physical abuse and may be triggering to some people.

“There remains what seems to be an impenetrable wall of silence around violence, and we must all play a role in breaking this silence.” ~Reese Witherspoon

The other day my brother sent me some rare old photographs of my family. In the middle of those aged images, I found a picture of a seven-year-old girl, so cute! She was wearing two perfect long braids and a smile. Oh, the smile of this lovely girl!

There was also an image of a man …

How to Stop Reacting in Anger When You’re Triggered

“Freedom is taking control of the rudder of your life.” ~Yukito Kishiro

“What’s for dinner?” It’s a simple enough question. Yet it’s one that has made me lose my mind at my husband on more than one (or ten or twenty) occasions.

It’s not the question itself. It’s a valid question and one that needs an answer (at least by one of us).

A trigger of mine is being asked to answer a question when I’m already in the middle of something, feeling overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, or just sick of answering questions.

So then I snap and overreact.

I’ve come …

How I Stopped Making Men My Everything and Losing Myself in Love

“Yes, love is all about sacrifice and compromise, but it’s important also to establish a limit. You shouldn’t have to throw your whole life away to make a relationship work. If you have to lose yourself to please your partner, you’re with the wrong person.” ~Beau Taplin

When I was twenty, I fell in love with a man who became my everything. My close friends watched me becoming someone else because I found myself trying to ceaselessly knead myself into someone who would perfectly fit into this man’s world, even if it meant betraying myself in the process.

I changed …

How to Spot Abusive People and Stop Getting into Toxic Relationships

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

When it comes to dating, I have always been drawn to people who made me work for their love and validation. Despite the fact that I, like anyone else, wish to be with somebody that loves and supports me, I have always somehow managed to attract the opposite.

My relationship history has been fraught with rejection, feeling unworthy, and trying harder to win love and approval. Every time I felt criticized or undervalued, I would look inward and ask myself what I could do to make my …

How Meeting and Re-Parenting My Inner Child Helped Me Love Myself

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” ~Oscar Wilde

The journey to meeting, loving, and re-parenting my inner child was a long time coming.

In 2018, I went through a devastating breakup. I’d been through breakups before. They suck, they hurt, some of them left me in deep abysses of sadness for a long time, but this one was something different.

I can honestly say I felt levels of pain I did not know were survivable for a human being. Many days, I did not want to survive; I couldn’t imagine continuing to be in that …

What No One Tells You About Setting Boundaries: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi

Three years back was the first time I dared to set a boundary and be assertive in a friendship, and guess what? She blocked me off her phone, and we stopped being friends.

It came as a rude shock because I was quite invested in the friendship. Not only did we have good times together, I had helped her search and find a job and even babysat her kid for a long while free of charge. I felt betrayed …

What It Really Means to Have a Supportive Partner

“The best possible thing you can get out of a relationship is that you’re with someone who encourages you to be the best version of yourself every day.” ~Nishan Panwar

Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you felt supported? When was the last time you felt safe, at home, encouraged, and able to be 100% yourself?

If your partner creates a safe space for you to do this, then you are truly blessed. If not, have you ever wondered why you don’t feel safe, supported, and loved?

Two years ago my best friend told …

Why People Are Rude and Unkind (and Why It’s Not About You)

“How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.” ~Paulo Coelho

By nature, I am a happy, optimistic, idealistic person. I have always been one to look on the bright side and see the good in people. My usual philosophy in life is that the world is full of brightness, love, and possibilities to seize.

Recently, though, my philosophy began to fade in the face of a mild depression.

I began to cry a lot and retreat into myself rather than being social and opening up, which only furthered the problem. I felt …

How I Stopped Putting Everyone Else’s Needs Above My Own

“Never feel sorry for choosing yourself.” ~Unknown

I was eleven years old, possibly twelve, the day I first discovered my mother’s betrayal. I assume she didn’t hear me when I walked in the door after school. The distant voices in the finished basement room of our home drew me in. My mother’s voice was soft as she spoke to her friend. What was she hiding that she didn’t want me to hear?

I leaned in a little bit closer to the opening of the stairs… She was talking about a man she’d met. Her voice changed when she spoke of …

The Only Way to Form Meaningful Relationships with People Who Get You

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“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” ~Jim Morrison

When I left my full-time position at an ad agency and ventured out on my own, I had a clear goal in mind—to connect with likeminded people who align with my highest good. As far as how I was going to do that, I had little clue.

My life was full of relationships built from forced, sometimes toxic circumstances where we found each other out of need or convenience. I am grateful for each of those people because they were there when I needed them most, …

Where Our Inner Critic Comes from and How to Tame It

“Your inner critic is simply a part of you that needs more self-love.” ~Amy Leigh Mercee

We all have that critical and judgmental inner voice that tells us we’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc.

It tells us we don’t do anything right. It calls us stupid. It compares us to other people and speaks harshly about ourselves and our bodies. It tells us all the things we did or said “wrong” after communicating or connecting with someone.

Sometimes it projects criticism outward onto others so we can feel better about ourselves. Other times we try to …

I Was Addicted to Helping People – Here’s Why It Made Me Miserable

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“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” ~Maya Angelou

Growing up in Africa, I was told that the virtue and worth of a woman lies in her ability to take care of everyone around her; that a woman was considered good or worthy when everyone around her was happy and pleased with her. I took this advice to heart, especially since I watched my mother meet this standard to a T. Putting everyone else, including strangers, above herself.

Most of the Things We Learn as Kids

Before You Reach Out to That Person from Your Past: 3 Things to Consider

“You don’t have to rebuild a relationship with everyone you’ve forgiven.” ~Unknown

It’s natural, when you’re hurting and lonely, to want to reach out to people you’ve been close to in the past.

Especially if there’s unfinished business with someone. And especially given the added isolation that comes with a global pandemic.

Whether or not you do reach out is entirely your prerogative. For what it’s worth, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea to try—in most cases, a “Whoops” is better than a “What if…?” Whatever the result, you’ll learn something. It might be …

Hurt by Negative People? How to Stop Taking Things Personally

“Some people are in such utter darkness that they will burn you just to see a light. Try not to take it personally.” ~Kamand Kojouri

The saying goes that money makes the world go round, but of course that’s not true.

It’s our relationships.

How we relate to other people and how they relate to us keeps our world turning. When things go well, all’s right with our world. When things go badly, it can feel as though our world has ground to a halt.

This is exactly how I felt whenever I had a difficult experience with a …

How I Stopped Feeling Unworthy of Love (And Finally Learned to Receive It)

“I hope you find love, but more importantly, I hope you’re strong enough to walk away from what love isn’t.” ~Tiffany Tomiko

When I was in my early thirties, I briefly dated someone right after my divorce.

It was one of those fast and furious things that had no label and left me wondering if I made most of it up in my head.

It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last. How many times had I ended up feeling rejected and abandoned? I was trying so hard to impress a partner, but no matter what …

Surviving a Dysfunctional Relationship: What I Wish I Knew and Did Sooner

“No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.” ~Alice Walker

When I was a child and in my early teenage years, I was a free bird. I laughed easily, loved life, never worried, and dreamed big. I thought the best of others, the glass was always full. I never dreamed others would hurt me, and I had a joyful and playful attitude toward life.

That was a long time ago.

My breakdown started gradually and slowly with judgments from a very close and trusted family member I dare not name. This person, though …

Escaping a Predator: 10 Warning Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist

“Each of us has an inner compass. This is an instinct that points us toward health. It warns us when we are on dangerous ground, and it tells us when something is safe and good for us.” ~Julia Cameron

After I broke up with Mr. Wonderful, I found out that he was a predator.

When I realized who he really was, I stood in my home shaking in fear and feeling sick to my stomach. I was horrified. My mind raced with terrifying images of what could have happened to me if I had not followed my instincts and left …

If You Want Closure After a Breakup: 6 Things You Need to Know

“We eventually learn that emotional closure is our own action.” ~David Deida

When my last relationship ended, I didn’t really understand why. After eight years together and still feeling love for each other, my partner walked away saying he didn’t feel able to commit.

He didn’t want to work on the relationship because he felt that nothing would change for him. So, I had no choice but to let it end and do everything I could to pick myself up from deep grief, intensified by great confusion.

Now, over a year later, I still cannot give you a definitive reason …

How I’m Healing from the Pain of Growing up in a Dysfunctional Family

“Don’t try to understand everything, because sometimes it’s not meant to be understood, but accepted.” ~Unknown

As a child, I never had the opportunity to develop a sense of self. I had a father who was a drug addict. A mother who was abused by my father. And later, we had my mom’s possessive and controlling boyfriend. It was tough finding a consistent role model in the mix.

I was one of four kids and we grew up in a trailer, sharing one bunk bed among us all. As children, we often would brutally fight with each other. We …